16 September 2003 18:29 [Source: ICIS news]
SITTARD, Netherlands (CNI)--A decision to invest around Euro500m ($560m) on a long-delayed expansion of its cracker capacity at Geleen, Netherlands could be made by Sabic EuroPetrochemicals (EPC) by year end, chief executive Frans Noteborn said here Tuesday.
The project was put on hold by Dutch group DSM in late 2001 prior to the sale last year of its petrochemical business to Saudi Arabia's Sabic. It is among possible investments totalling up to Euro1bn being considered by Sabic in its European manufacturing business.
Noteborn, however, was extremely circumspect about the timing of these projects, which also include a probable expansion of polypropylene (PP) capacity and possible addition to polyethylene (PE). He said in a briefing to journalists at Sabic EPC's headquarters here that the very earliest a board decision for the Geleen cracker project could be expected from parent Sabic is the end of December. The project, which would involve building a 'side cracker' next to cracker unit NAK4, would take about three years to complete, according to NAK4 plant manager Geert Greving.
Sabic EPC has two crackers on its Geleen site; the 675 000 tonne/year ethylene and 350 000 tonne/year propylene capacity NAK4 unit and the 575 000 tonne ethylene/325 000 tonne propylene NAK3 facility. Both have been expanded to their maximum capacity, said Greving.
Although additional cracker capacity is Sabic EPC's first priority, Noteborn confirmed that the company also is evaluating a new PE plant of at least 250 000 tonne capacity at both Geleen and its Gelsenkirchen, Germany sites. He also affirmed that a new worldscale (300 000 tonne/year) PP plant is under consideration for either Geleen or Gelsenkirchen. The PE expansion would be low-density and based on Sabic's technology. Sabic EPC's PP ambitions are being restricted by propylene feedstock limitations, admitted Noteborn. But these limitations will be addressed by the planned new propylene pipeline grid and Sabic's cracker expansion plans at Geleen.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|
Asian Chemical Connections